4 MINUTE READ
Changing Gear? The 10 Bike Essentials Every Cyclist Needs
Words by Mr Jim Merrett
29 June 2021
What’s the phrase? Back in the saddle. Sure, it was coined as a nod to riding horses, but if you’ve been out of office for a chunk of time and you’re now looking for a means of transport for your daily commute, in this day and age, a bike will probably serve you better. Not to mention get you fitter. But as with any activity, you’ll need to be fully prepped. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of the best cycling gear for an urban commute – plus a clear idea of how best to deploy it.
Second only to a bike itself, a jersey is about as vital as it gets on two wheels. It’s a shirt, yes, but it can also be your lifeline, coming loaded with rear pockets for carrying everything from your phone, bank cards, tools – not to mention another essential, flapjacks. This classic example from Rapha (actually called “Classic II”, suggesting that there is always room for improvement) is partly made from recycled fibres.
The bib shorts
Psst. Just between us, but if you’re doing this properly, your bib shorts should be worn… without underwear. It means that this is one item of clothing that you need to know you can trust. And since we’re going to be on first-name terms, meet Adèle, the central pillar of your new commuting wardrobe. This pair by Café du Cycliste comes with a mesh panel for regulating your body temperature, but also a fleece lining, to help lock in heat when you need it, where you need it.
Cycling while wearing bib shorts and jerseys can lead to some interesting tan lines, hence you should come packing SPF. Now think about what all that UV radiation is doing to your eyes. Oakley’s Frogskins model is a 1980s icon retooled for today, with Prizm lenses to protect your peepers while enhancing colour and contrast. As in you can see better, but, yes, it also applies to the way they look.
Because it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, or at least because to make a rainbow you need rain, you’d best pack outerwear. New to MR PORTER, MAAP’s Prime Stow jacket is more than up to the task. Constructed from Polartec Neoshell fabric, it is a trusty shield against wind and rain. It also wicks away sweat, comes with reflective detailing and hems and silicone prints to keep it in place. In fact, the only thing it won’t do is weigh you down.
Don’t listen to them – we like your head just how it is. And to keep it that way, can we suggest a helmet. (We say suggest, but in some places, it’s mandatory.) Designed in conjunction with the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (they’re good), POC’s Ventral Spin model is billed as its fastest and safest yet. The helmet’s cutouts gobble up air, helping to keep you cool, and it also features storage for sunnies.
Melbourne is a city that is always in search of its next caffeine and sport-induced endorphin fix, so it makes sense that cycling has taken root there. But it’s also very outward looking, hence why local brand MAAP sought help from Swiss cycling shoe expert suplest when constructing its Edge+ model. The microfibre uppers, too, are sourced from Japan, meaning you will have the whole world at your feet.
I feel it in my fingers, as Mr Marti Pellow once put it. But did he still after a 70km ride? A good pair of gloves is a must on a bike. Rapha’s solution is made from insulating Polartec, with stitching only where it is absolutely necessary to avoid chaffing and keep down weight. The cushioning features memory foam, while perforated micro-suede panels add ventilation and grip.
Chapeau! And by that we mean well done. But also nice hat. Cyclists traditionally show their appreciation for the efforts of their peers with a literal or metaphoric doff of the cap. And this colourful panelled example is worthy of a doff in itself. It will keep rain out of your face, but also draw sweat away from your brow. In short: it will keep you cool while, y’know, keeping you cool.
The water bottle
Hydration is, of course, very important – especially when cycling, where it will improve performance and possibly fend off cramp, although that isn’t entirely proven. Café du Cycliste’s vessel boasts a double skin, to keep the liquid inside at the temperature it was when you filled it. That should be cool water, but it could also be hot coffee. Comes with two stoppers, one for drinking on the go.
By now, you’ve probably clocked that riding a bike involves a lot of kit. A rolltop backpack is perfect for stashing gear. Rapha’s take has a durable, water-resistant coated shell, with attachments for lights and locks – plus, a laptop sleeve inside. Reflective tabs and a pink underside improve visibility, while the back panel is designed to keep the wearer cool.